Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy met with the media today in Toronto ahead of tomorrow’s pivotal Game 4 matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs. After first discussing the status of injured Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, Cassidy turned his focus to the Leafs and admitted that one of the team’s young players, has caught his attention through the series’ first three games. No, not Auston Matthews. It’s sophomore Mitch Marner who has impressed Cassidy the most.
Bruce Cassidy praises Mitch Marner for his competitiveness just as much as for his speed and skill.
It’s easy to see why Cassidy has been impressed. The 20 year old Marner has a goal and four points through the series’ first three games and was especially noticeable in Game 3 on a line with veterans Tomas Plekanec and Patrick Marleau.
The youngster had 22 goals and 69 points in 82 games this season, good enough to claim the team lead in point production. It’s likely that the Marner, Plekanec and Marleau trio gets at least one more game together while regular second line center Nazem Kadri serves the final game of his three game suspension for a dangerous hit on Bruins forward Tommy Wingels. If the Bruins have hopes of taking a 3-1 series lead, they’ll need to do a better job of containing Marner in Game 4 tomorrow night.
As mentioned earlier, Cassidy also updated the assembled media on the injury status of Grzelcyk saying, "I suspect he'll be - I don't want to get ahead of myself -- we thought it wasn't going to be a long term," Cassidy said. "We'll assume he'll improve with a couple of days off. But again, until he gets out there, that's hard to say. If he's healthy enough to play, he'll go back in."
No official word yet on whether or not Grzelcyk will suit up tomorrow night. If it’s deemed that he’s not quite ready, expect Nick Holden to take his spot on the Bruins’ third pairing.
Leafs head coach Mike Babcock also confirmed that veteran Leo Komarov WILL NOT play for the Leafs in tomorrow's contest.